I’m a self-confessed dystopian fiction addict. I could make some blithe remark about it mirroring the state of the world today – sales of George Orwell’s classic cautionary fable, 1984, saw a 9500% spike in sales after Donald Trump was elected as president – but really, I’ve always been fascinated by the end of the world.
Of course, dystopia isn’t the only sub-genre of speculative fiction. Spec fic includes anything that speculates about a world which might be different – from alternate histories to futuristic science fiction.
I’ve read some absolutely cracking spec fic this year. There are 3 which I gave 5-star reviews to on my Goodreads profile. The list includes 2 dystopias and one magical realism (that’s where the world of the book is mostly real, but with a few… quirks, shall we say).
Here are my 3 favourite speculative fiction novels that I read in 2017, in no particular order.
1. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
About: The sun has gone away and there is no plant life left on earth. It’s 10 years after the event and there are very few humans left. Some have resorted to cannibalism for survival. A father and his son journey across the wastelands to the coast in search of fellow survivors. The road is dangerous.
Best to read: On the train to and from work. If you’re having a bad day, you can always hope an asteroid will hit before you reach your destination.
2. The Ship, by Antonia Honeywell
About: A few years after the waters have risen, resources in London are running low. Lalla’s father, Michael Paul, has stocked an ark that can support 497 people. Together they leave behind the chaos and horror that plague the starving people of the mainland to go… where? It’s a question to which Lalla can’t seem to get an answer.
Best to read: When you’ve had enough of battling supermarkets for the weekly grocery shop and would quite like to step aboard a fully stocked ship instead.
3. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance, by Ruth Emmie Lang
Sub-genre: Magical realism
About: The story of Weylyn Grey – an accidental, unassuming and reluctant wizard who spends most of the novel convinced that it his pig, Merlin, who is magical, rather than himself.
Best to read: When camping in the great outdoors and laughing while the kids deal with the realities of life without electricity.
- Read my full review of Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
- Order online from Booktopia
- Download on your Kindle
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